The National Hárslevelű Wine Competition took place on Friday, June 23, 2017. Wines from numerous wine regions in several categories were nominated for the competition. The results have shown once again that some level of residual sugar helps to bring out the best in Hárslevelű.
The winner is barely known
The panels made up of experts and winemakers judged wines from Somló, Villány, Tokaj, Mátra, Lake Balaton, Bükk and of course from Eger and Debrő. Gold medals were awarded in all categories and also a high number of silver and bronze medals. The proud winner of this year’s Double Gold award is István Gecse with his sweet 2014 Debrői Hárslevelű. The unique climate, the various soil types and tradition all contribute to making Debrői Hárslevelű a special wine, typically in the off dry category, with rich fruit and strong character. The ripe grapes endow the wine with a complex nose and opulent fruit beautifully balanced by lively acidity. Feldebrő is a small village in Eger wine region, north-east of Hungary, and István Gecse makes his wines here. He is not really known out of his region, he does not even have a website, however he offers bed and breakfast with wine tasting opportunity.
61 medals altogether
Though Hárslevelű is one of the main grapes of Tokaj, the fanous wine region was rather under-represented at this competition, while Eger wine region was over-represented – but it is absolutely understandable, since the contest was held in a village called Verpelét, in Eger wine region. Out of the 15 gold medals, 9 gold came from Eger region. Somló won one gold with Tornai Hárslevelű, and Tokaj won three gold medals. Mátra, Bükk won one-one gold, too.
Hárslevelű – the linden leaf wine
Hárslevelű is the other main grape variety in Tokaj besides Furmint, however it is widely planted all over the country, it can be found even in the southern Villány. Late to ripen, like Furmint, but with looser bunches. It has a thicker grape skin meaning that in dry vintages the botrytis attack it more slowly. Its wine is more aromatic than Furmint with delicate linden honey aromas, sometimes elderflower. Elegant, subtle wine can be made from Hárslevelű with refined acidity, creamy texture and a touch of spices.Its name is literally ‘linden leaf’ and comes from the shape of the leaf which resembles that of the tree. According to some recent DNA researches Furmint is the parent of Hárslevelű.
Pajzos Tokaj Late Harvest Hárslevelű from 2013 is one of the gold medal winners. A charming wine with tropical and floral fragrance and with the fine spiciness of the acacia. On the palate the honey notes are followed by a silky marzipan flavour.
Opinion from the jury and the winners
„The Jury had their work cut out as there were so many top quality Hárslevelűs entered this year from all over the country ranging from dry to sweet”, said András Főczény, President of the Verpelét Appellation. „15 gold and a large number of silver and bronze medals were awarded and the Chairmen of the panels have all confirmed that the wines in the competiton showed a good level of consistency.”
„Thanks to the special microclimate Botrytis may be a wonderful gift of nature”, said István Gecse, whose 2014 sweet Debrői Hárslevelű has won the Double Gold award.
János Bolyki’s 2013 Meta Téma Harvest I, II and III wines have all won silver and gold medals. „I have entered three Hárslevelűs and all three has won some medal. The grapes come from the same plot, the 3,7 hectare Középbérc-vineyard and from the same vintage. The difference lies in the timing of the harvests. There were three harvests, one in the middle of October, one at the end of October and one at the beginning of November with correspondingly ascending residual sugar levels.”